What you need to know about the new rule of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act was intended to facilitate fair lending laws by identifying business and community development lending needs and barriers for small, women-owned and minority businesses. Section 1071 amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), requiring financial institutions to:

  1. Inquire if the business is a small, women- or minority-owned business.
  2. Collect, maintain and annually report lending data.
  3. Restrict data access to relevant personnel.
  4. Make the data available for public disclosure.

It’s been more than ten years since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act  (Dodd Frank Act) became public law. However, this is the first time Section 1071 is being fully addressed. Early this September, the Consumer Financial Protection Board published a 900+ page proposal. They also published a webpage with resources relevant to the rulemaking.

The intention is to gather data on whether the borrower is a small, women- or minority-owned business. The rule presents 23 data points, some of which you may already be collecting. If the borrower declines to self-identify, the lender should take visual or last name clues to supply the necessary data. The CFPB will also offer a Filing Instructions Guide to help simplify and streamline the data submission process.

Only covered financial institutions will be required to comply with section 1071’s data collection and reporting requirements. All other financial institutions can submit the data voluntarily in certain circumstances. But what constitutes a covered financial institution? According to the rule, a covered financial institution must have conducted at least 25 small business loans during each of the previous two years. Although a financial institution may be exempt from reporting by this definition, it may not be exempt from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting. It’s important to know where your institution stands and not to assume that if you are exempt from one, then you are exempt from both.

A small business will be defined as a business with a gross annual revenue of less than $5 million for its preceding fiscal year. Although based on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the rule relies on the definition set by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

A 90-day comment period begins once published in the Federal Register. If you have something to say, this is your opportunity to be heard. Mandatory compliance begins 18 months after the Federal Register publishes the final rule. There will be no immediate effect or need for action. However, it doesn’t hurt to start planning for this new rule now.

As Marquis Software Solutions continues to monitor the situation, we’ll learn more about the ruling. And once it is ratified, we’ll take a deep dive into what this means for financial institutions of all sizes and keep you up-to-date on what we find. By staying on top of the situation, we hope to make implementing this new rule a painless and stress-free process.

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